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Intellectuals demand immediate release of Shahidul, Maidul

  • Published at 12:21 am September 30th, 2018
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Intellectuals and civil society members at the protest rally held in front of the National Museum at Shahbagh yesterday Dhaka Tribune

Protesters urged the government to withdraw Digital Security Act-2018, by which the citizen rights would be seized

Intellectuals and civil society groups have demanded the immediate release of photographer Shahidul Alam and Chittagong University teacher Maidul Islam who were sent to jail in cases filed against them over making ‘derogatory remarks’ on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Facebook.

The demand came up from a protest rally arranged under the banner 'public against repression' in front of Shahbagh's national museum.

They also demanded the unconditional release of the protesters, who were detained during the recent student protests. 

Protesters urged the government to withdraw Digital Security Act-2018, by which the citizen rights would be seized.

"Those who are protesting injustices against famous artists and university teachers are being sent to jail, while corrupted persons and oppressors are not brought to book," they said.

Speakers urged the young generation to stand against the Digital Security Act, which would be passed in the next cabinet meeting. They claimed that some clauses of the 'official secret act' of the colonial era had been directly attached. 

Social activist Khushi Kabir said, "To be very frank, autocratic behavior won't survive in the country. Time has come to put an end to such a situation."

"Rulers are trying to prove that theyare most powerful by detaining prominent artists like Shahidul Alam. They are not paying any heed to the thinking of critics across the globe," she added.

"We have seen discussions in different media on the Digital Security Act. People have started talking against the law which is controversial to the freedom of speech," Khushi said.

"Protests have begun already and would spread. We have to be careful about each step we take against injustice," the human rights activist added. 

Former Chhatra Union leader Laki Akter, singer Arup Rahi, General Secretary of Samajtantrik Chhatra Front Nasir Uddin Prince, Chhatra Federation President Golam Mostofa, Chhatra Union President GM Zilani Shuvo, Dhaka University International Relations teacher Tanjimuddin Khan among others, were present at the rally.

Drik founder and famed photographer Shahidul Alam was remanded on August 6 for seven days in a case filed under the ICT Act's Section 57(2).

A Chattogram court on September 24 sent Maidul to jail in a case filed against him under section 57 of the ICT Act.